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Singing Praises to Walking ( With Pics of Course )

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I love my walks; they are so much more than a simple cardio routine. They regenerate me in so many ways; breathing fresh air, soaking in beauty, hiking with friends, meditating, photographing, writing (nothing like bringing along a tiny notebook), bird watching, enjoying the beauty in motion that is my flying poodle.

I am so fortunate to have a nature preserve so close by where I can hike.

A fabulous back yard...

And a beautful meadow where Stella can run unleashed and free. Poetry in motion!

The autumn colors are inspiring right now. I love this time of year!

It is pretty hard to find excuses not to walk, and if I do Stella rarely lets me get away with it. If you haven't taken to walking yet, I recommend an active dog! No active dog? Find a place that is beautiful to walk, rural or urban. Grab a partner in crime, or a camera and discover new places. Just moving makes you want more.

If you don't have one, think about a pedometer or step counter. You can get an inexpensive one at any sporting goods store, Target, etc. I invested in a Fitbit which suits my techy little brain and competetive nature.

I love my little fitbit. I splurged on one last December, and have never regretted it. It keeps track of steps, miles, floors, calories burned, and sleep. Not only that, but it will store the information for a few weeks' time if you are unable to sync the info right away; a huge benefit when I was traveling in China this past summer.

I am very happy that SP has made it possilble to sync my fitbit with my Spark tracker. Thank you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRITTERKEEPERS 11/14/2012 4:24PM

    Love the picture of Stella!
emoticon emoticon

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MEOWMAMA3 11/8/2012 12:19PM

    Hi Chris! Thanks for this lovely little blog. I was just telling another Sparker how I will really miss autumn this year....it's the first year in many that I've had enough free time to get out and enjoy it! Retirement is coming along...I'm still dreaming that I'm late for class, or can't find my class and wake up worried that they are teacherless. I'm working on business and other money making plans,, along with embroidery, so I'm keeping busy, but learning to relax. Isn't it funny that I feel I have to learn to relax??? Hope you are enjoying your class this year and all the other parts of your interesting life! Give that sweetie Stella a hug from Meowmama-I just love to see her joie de vie as she leaps and plays! Take care! Kim

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LINDONA01 10/19/2012 3:46PM

    Your pictures are FANTASTIC! Thank you for sharing. Also, I want to know more about this fitbit. Sounds awesome. I think I'll look it up.

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MEDDYPEDDY 10/19/2012 3:00AM

    No I donīt have a step counter, I use Runkeeper and that works fine... without Doggy I would not get out half as often so I am happy for him although he is a pest sometimes... very good shot of Stella! If I had the money I would get a poodle too!

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OLDERDANDRT 10/17/2012 1:03PM

    Beautiful pictures!!! I have a decent neighborhood to walk in, but nothing so beautiful or totally nature like you have!!!! Glad to see Stella at her absolute best and happiest!!!! She is so graceful!! Please give her extra praises and cuddles for me, k?

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CURVYELVIESAYS 10/17/2012 11:58AM

    You have such a beautiful walking path. I have two dogs but, one is just crazy and the other lazy LOL. Thanks for sharing the lovely pics and Stella is beautiful. emoticon emoticon

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MARY1313 10/16/2012 11:53PM

    Love this! AND I'll take the one of Stella in Flight, and the beautiful Autumn trees right below it! Thank you!!! LOL, they are so very lovely, as is your spirit.


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IUHRYTR 10/16/2012 9:40PM

    As always, Chris, lovely pictures. Loved Stella's. I miss walking the neighborhood and park trails but my back won't allow it. I can use the treadmill at home so if the back cramps, I don't need to have someone pick me up. But, as long as you post blogs about your walks, I can get my walking fix through pictures of nature, and Stella. emoticon -- Lou

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GUITARWOMAN 10/16/2012 12:40PM

    Beautiful blog.

I too cannot say enough about walking, although I must say I prefer my treadmill and a good pre-recorded TV show (which are harder and harder to find, these days)!

I've got an evening meeting tonight and having the treadmill let me work out at 5 AM, an hour where I would not venture outside--too dark!

I am so pleased with the SP FB sync.

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FIFIFRIZZLE 10/16/2012 12:37PM

    Thank you for the beautiful images of true autumn, a season we don't see much if in Wellington. And for your comments about the fitbit, I feel rather inclined to get one.

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MCGS62 10/16/2012 9:22AM

    I always love your pictures !!

but for different reasons than you may suspect.
its the WOW! factor of how strait and flat the roads and terrain is in the center of the country compared to west/central PA and West Virginia. It is a beautiful fall season here too but perspective is very different !

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0309COOKIE 10/16/2012 9:12AM

    What beautiful, beautiful pictures. And I so adore the one of Stella!

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CHALLENGER15 10/16/2012 8:36AM

    Thank you for sharing the joys of walking with so many!

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SKMINNY 10/16/2012 7:45AM

    What a neat place to go for a walk! thanks for sharing!

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LMB-ESQ 10/16/2012 6:19AM

    So beautiful! I think this fall has had the prettiest color changes I've seen in several years. Some day I will live in an area as pretty as yours. Not too much inspiring about walking around city sidewalks, even if they are quiet. emoticon

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You didn't loose all your fall colors in the thunderstorms.

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TRYINGHARD54 10/16/2012 6:01AM

    beautiful thank you for sharing

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Vegan Lentil Soup - for my friend KAPELAKIN

Sunday, October 07, 2012

I commented today on the sudden chill in the air and KAPELAKIN replied that it is time to break out the sweaters and make a pot of soup. Great idea! I already had my warm knit hoody on and my wool socks for my walk with Stella. After our walk, it was time to make that pot of soup.

Vegan Lentil Soup:

1 C lentils, washed, either red or green
1/2 brown rice
2 C vegetable broth
3 carrots
1 C chopped kale (or spinach if you prefer)
1- 4 tablespoons of coarsely chopped onions depending on taste
1- 2 cloves of garlic depending on taste
1T olive oil
curry powder
black pepper

Put the stock, lentils, and brown rice in the crock pot.
Chop the carrots and greens, and place in crock pot.

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add curry powder to taste. Use the mild kind if you don't like spicy - I use the hot curry powder. If you don't like curry, leave it out entirely. Grind a bit of pepper into the mix. Add the sauteed veggies to the crock pot.

Cook for 4 hours or until rice and lentils are soft and the flavors well blended. Add water or more broth as necessary if the soup gets too thick for your taste.

Add salt (to taste) last, or not at all if you are on a low sodium diet.

The proteins in the lentils and rice combine to make a complete protein. Serve with bread, or muffins, or let it be a meal in and of itself. I like mine with naan.

The photo is a before picture, right after all of the ingredients are in the crock pot.

One great thing about cooler weather - SOUP!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Yep, soup.A non-meat soup I make is potato which I made Sunday. I will be preparing chicken soup next.
I also bought smoked turkey wings to make some kind of bean thing in the crock pot with Great Northern beans, some tomato and a host of other veggies I haven't decided on yet.
I'll "wing" it emoticon

I am also going to try yours. It looks and sounds great.

Comment edited on: 10/9/2012 5:22:32 AM

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MCGS62 10/8/2012 12:53PM

    I veganly remember how good and healthy vegan soup can be!!!

sounds like a great recipe to try when --ah hm-- we-- pick our pumpkin from the pumpkin patch

Hey-- Mary1313-- lentils are like tiny flying saucer shaped beans you can get them at a grocery store but will get a better price from and india or middle east specialty store.

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MARY1313 10/7/2012 9:36PM

    Mmmmm soup!! that sounds so good! I'm wanting to make a veggie soup. I have lots of frozen veggies. I don't even know what lentils are!


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OLDERDANDRT 10/7/2012 7:39PM

    Yum! emoticon emoticon

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IUHRYTR 10/7/2012 7:20PM

    Soup, hot tea and hot chocolate (diet, of course), and a fireplace (which I don't have) make for a cozy, winter evening. -- Lou

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KAPELAKIN 10/7/2012 2:29PM

    Thanks, that soup look great! We have a ton of kale in the garden too, so this will be perfect, I'm sure my dad will love it!

emoticon emoticon

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0309COOKIE 10/7/2012 2:28PM

    Looks and sounds very healthy and delicious.

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FIFIFRIZZLE 10/7/2012 2:16PM

    Even though it is spring here, I think this will be my lunch. I ave lots of silverbeet in the garden, so into the pot it will go.
Thanks, Pudle.

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SCOOTER4263 10/7/2012 12:30PM

    I was planning on making lentil soup today - think I'll try your recipe. Sounds great, and I just happen to have kale in the refrig.

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WATERMELLEN 10/7/2012 12:04PM

    Love soup, and this one sounds great thanks!

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JLITT62 10/7/2012 11:59AM

    Yup, I go from salads to soups with the seasons.

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SUNRISE14 10/7/2012 10:56AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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YOGAWITCH 10/7/2012 10:47AM

    Oh that looks so good thanks for sharing, we are huge soup people in the winter,

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Letting Go

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Life is all about growing and letting go, isn't it?

Last night was the first time I have been in my friend's house since she died. It hit me harder than I expected it to.

It is hard sometimes, not to clutch on to our material world, to want to hold onto what is no longer here, to live in the present.

We are mortals...

sharing the earth for what is, in the broad scope of things, a very short time.

Losing someone close makes it hard to live in the present, but also makes it clear how important it is to do just that; to really embrace life and the people we share it with.

Autumn is, perhaps, a shining example of letting go.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 10/11/2012 2:00AM

    I am sorry for your loss - nowadays death is around the corner and I am not comfortable with that yet...

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CLAIREINPARIS 10/9/2012 4:35PM

    Thank you for a special blog. emoticon

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SCOOTER4263 10/7/2012 12:37PM

    My condolences on the loss of your dear friend.

Friday was the second anniversary of my husband's death, and I realized how far i"ve come, and how far I have yet to go. It's such a process, you know? Two steps forward, one back, and you have to make your own path to do that on, as no one ever has been exactly your route before, in your shoes.

The natural world always does the difficult with so much more grace than we. You expressed this beautifully. Thank you, Chris, for your wisdom and for sharing.

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SUNRISE14 10/6/2012 1:36PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    It is so true I am sorry for your loss. But, life really is about change and letting go. It's a hard lesson to learn. Great blog! emoticon

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MARY1313 10/5/2012 9:43PM

    Yes it is hard to let go. I know how deeply you love Chris. I'll be praying for you my friend.


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    Yes, you have it right.
It still is hard.

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IUHRYTR 10/4/2012 11:57PM

    Condolences on your loss, Chris. Keep the happy memories of your time together in mind during the sad times. -- Lou

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KOMAL53 10/4/2012 9:03PM

    That is what I keep trying to tell myself--sometimes it works---sometimes not!!!So I react the way I want to----not that weeping helps either!!! emoticon

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JLITT62 10/4/2012 5:45PM

    So sorry for your loss.

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OLDERDANDRT 10/4/2012 3:55PM

    You have such a beautiful way of putting things, you know? Great analogy. And yes, you're right. It is hard to let go sometimes. emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 10/4/2012 9:25AM

    Letting go is definitely a process, that's for sure. It will be hard to go to your friend's house for awhile, but hopefully every time you go, it will be a little less painful than the time before. And it will be back and forth too. Grieving isn't a linear process. I thought I was coming to terms with my dad's passing, and then a few months later I saw his old winter hat and I fell apart again. But even that was not as painful as it was in the beginning. I don't think you ever get over it. But you do get used to it. And when you realize you can think of her with nothing but joy again, you'll suddenly know you've managed to let go. emoticon

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MCGS62 10/4/2012 8:45AM

    emoticon What a colorful analogy

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Sweet Monday

Monday, October 01, 2012

In case you were needing a Stella fix....

Honestly, this girl cracks me up! There is nothing she loves more than a pillow to cozy up to once the evening settles in.

On the home front. I officiated my friend's celebration of life on Saturday and it was a beautiful event. After worrying over it, and working too many hours at work as well, I finally had time to just feel sad on Sunday instead of sad, stressed, and overworked. Having the service behind me was a huge burden removed.

This was a lovely Monday. The philharmonic chamber orchestra played at our school this morning, and I took my class on our Monday 2.5 hour nature hike. It was cool and crisp, the colors changing, the sky gray but with a lovely filtered light. Stella and I got in our evening walk before it rained, and now there is a gentle rain tapping out a lullaby on the roof. Perfect for sleeping to.

Music, a long hike in the woods, a walk with Stella, a gentle breeze, and a soft rain... a perfect day, really.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OLDERDANDRT 10/4/2012 3:53PM

    How wonderful ! I'm glad the service went well. And, how'd you know I needed a Stella fix!?!?!?
She's such a beautiful girl!! Trying to maybe talk DH into a standard poodle, but he thinks they're too big. A far cry from the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel I've been wanting, huh? Right now, I'm happy with my Bruno. He's so good and well behaved! Hope you're having another wonderful day! emoticon

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IUHRYTR 10/2/2012 8:26PM

    What a wonderful day, Chris. May you have many more just as peaceful and relaxing. Thanks for the Stella fix. emoticon -- Lou

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JLITT62 10/2/2012 4:12PM

    Love your new profile pic! Lola loves the bed. For a dog with oodles of energy, she sure knows how to relax.

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DOR2BFIT 10/2/2012 3:10PM

    OK- I had to change my profile picture to show you my favorite dog/pillow picture of my one year old pup, Ginger! emoticon emoticon

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GUITARWOMAN 10/2/2012 12:49PM

    Don't know why, as it heralds winter and darkness, but I do love October......

Glad to hear from you Chris!

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MCGS62 10/2/2012 9:46AM

    Yes October is still my favorite month for all of the reasons you just mentioned!

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SUNRISE14 10/2/2012 6:35AM

    @ of our dogs sleep on our pillows ! They are precious ! emoticon

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KASEYCOFF 10/2/2012 2:46AM

    Perfect time of year for long walks, cozy evenings - and if we have to say goodbye to anyone dear to us, for me, autumn softens the edges a bit... couldn't say why, really, but thus it is.

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MARY1313 10/2/2012 12:02AM

    I think all Poodles look for the pillows early on in life! April certainly isn't going to lye on just the couch!!

I'm glad the service for your friend is over and your heart can begin healing and remembering the good things.

I'm so glad you had a beautiful day!



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LMB-ESQ 10/1/2012 9:18PM

    That sweet dog of yours :-) And your day sounds like the kind of perfect day your friend would have loved. Glad you enjoyed it.

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FIFIFRIZZLE 10/1/2012 8:57PM

    Good to see you back on track, Pudle!

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    I miss doggie noses, pictures and cuddles!

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0309COOKIE 10/1/2012 7:49PM

    I'm glad you enjoyed your day. You deserved it.

Stella is such a beautiful baby.

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WATERMELLEN 10/1/2012 7:36PM

    Sounds perfect. And Stella is such a star!!

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Loss of a Dear Friend

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I have lost a very close friend, a cherished friend of 30 years. It is hard to imagine never seeing her again and hearing her voice and laughter. She was the kind person who, if we are lucky, we get to know and share the world with; generous of spirit, compassionate, witty, strong, and filled with the joy of living.

I am okay. I am sad, but okay. I find myself needing to find the rare quiet times I get during the school year, to turn inward and find emotional peace. This is why I have not been spending time here. I have been taking meditative walks, playing music, planning my friend's memorial service which I will officiate, and being gentle with myself.

Thank you to everyone who has checked in with me and sent me messages. While I have been quiet, I have appreciated your support and friendship.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EVWINGS 10/11/2012 2:26AM

    I am very sorry for the loss of such a good friend. Take good care of yourself, that is most important right now. It will all come to you in it's own time. Thoughts and prayers are with you in your this stressful time.

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MEDDYPEDDY 10/11/2012 2:02AM

    I will attend a funeral of my former coworker in two weeks she had been ill for a very long time and I am happy for being able to say goodbe

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MARY1313 9/30/2012 7:27AM


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AQUAJANE 9/29/2012 11:15PM


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IDLETYME 9/23/2012 8:11AM

    Thoughts and prayers coming your way. emoticon emoticon

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ALEXSGIRL1 9/22/2012 7:43PM

    so sorry for your loss

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MEOWMAMA3 9/22/2012 11:47AM

    I am so sorry for your loss. You were both blessed to have found each other's friendship and to have it last for such a long time. I know this is dreadfully hard for you but you will focus spiritually on all the rich memories and energy you enjoyed together and you will heal in time.
Take care my friend. emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 9/21/2012 2:46PM


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1HAPPYWOMAN 9/21/2012 12:45AM

    emoticon so sorry for your loss

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FIFIFRIZZLE 9/21/2012 12:19AM

    I'm sorry for your loss.

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IUHRYTR 9/20/2012 10:43PM

    Friendships of that length are rare. You must have a huge place in your heart for her and a great many happy memories of the times you two were able to share that may help carry you through the sad times. Please accept my condolences, Chris. emoticon -- Lou

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    We have had a sad year, haven't we Spark friends?

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KOMAL53 9/20/2012 8:17PM

    I can understand ....for the loss of a dearly loved one is very hard to bear.The passing of a good friend is truly bad--because it is someone we chose to share our life with---and not a relationship that one was born into.Take your own time to soothe your grieving heart----and may your friend find Peace !!!Take Care and God Bless!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHALLENGER15 9/20/2012 7:06PM

    emoticon You are very wise to take the time that you need, in whatever way you need.

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OLDERDANDRT 9/20/2012 5:48PM

    I'm so sorry, my friend! emoticon emoticon

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PHEBESS 9/20/2012 3:52PM

    My deepest condolences.

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GUITARWOMAN 9/20/2012 1:34PM

    My thoughts are with you!

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AANGEL3 9/20/2012 1:11PM

    Prayers and thoughts for you!

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MILLISMA 9/20/2012 12:57PM

    So sorry to hear of your loss. Hold her memories tight in your heart. It will be 4 years the 25th of this month that I lost my husband. At times I close my eyes, picture his smile and hear his laughter. Sending extra hugs and prayers.

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MCGS62 9/20/2012 9:23AM

    sorry to hear of the loss and hope you find the peace you need .
I'm sending you some prayers.

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    i am sad to hear of your loss may you find peace

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GINNJEN1974 9/20/2012 8:25AM

    Ah sorry to hear about your friend

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SUNRISE14 9/20/2012 7:55AM

    My prayers are with you ! Been there done that and it hurts beyond words . The Lord will be there for you . emoticon emoticon

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CAT609 9/20/2012 7:19AM

    I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. emoticon

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DOR2BFIT 9/20/2012 7:17AM

    I'm sorry for your loss- she sounds like she was an amazing person. Take care! emoticon

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CLAIREINPARIS 9/20/2012 7:03AM

    I am so sorry for your loss. You are doing the right thing by taking good care of yourself.

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